Duane Holmes

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USMNT’s Holmes injured, Mihailovic re-added to Gold Cup squad

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The hits just keep on coming for the United States men’s national team, as Derby County midfielder Duane Holmes has withdrawn from the Gold Cup roster.

Holmes, 24, earned his first two caps this month but “reaggravated a left quadriceps strain” which hampered the end of his season with the Rams.

[ MORE: West Ham bids for 2 La Liga stars ]

Djordje Mihailovic will take his place. The Chicago Fire midfielder was sent back to Illinois following the tune-up friendlies, but will jet back to the fold before Tuesday’s tournament opener versus Guyana.

The U.S. is painfully thin in terms of creative midfielders, with Tyler Adams (right back, we know), Sebastian Lletget, and now Holmes out of the mix.

They do have that Christian Pulisic cat, though, and we imagine he won’t be out wide much.

USMNT 23-man roster for Gold Cup

Goalkeepers: Sean Johnson, Tyler Miller, Zack Steffen

Defenders: Reggie Cannon, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Lima, Aaron Long, Daniel Lovitz, Matt Miazga, Walker Zimmerman, Tim Ream

Midfielders: Michael Bradley, Weston McKennie, Djordje Mihailovic, Christian Pulisic, Wil Trapp, Cristian Roldan

Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola, Tyler Boyd, Jonathan Lewis, Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes.

USMNT ready for final Gold Cup tuneup

Associated Press
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The United States has one final tune-up for the Gold Cup as the 23-man tournament squad gets set to face Venezuela on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET in Cincinnati.

A lackluster performance on Wednesday resulted in a 1-0 loss to Jamaica, the first loss under new head coach Gregg Berhalter. A number of fringe players saw time in that game, but with Berhalter’s camp over and his Gold Cup roster set, so it’s likely there will be less experimentation this time around, instead hoping to give the first-team squad a chance to gel.

That likely means the re-introduction of Jozy Altidore plus Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are now available as well. The biggest name of all will not be present, however, as Berhalter has already confirmed he will rest and preserve Christian Pulisic to keep him in top shape for the meaningful matches. Michael Bradley is also not available as Berhalter hopes to protect the 31-year-old from a recent hamstring injury, and while he’s been a full participant in practice, he did not play against Jamaica and will again be held out.

These two teams met in a 2017 Gold Cup tuneup at Rio Tinto Stadium in a match that saw Pulisic score a 61st minute equalizer to secure a 1-1 draw. Yet that game seems a lifetime ago, as just two of the starters from that game and four of the 19 players who saw time are on the current roster, including the 20-year-old Chelsea attacker.

Berhalter will want to see a much more organized and electric attacking display to give fans hope ahead of the Gold Cup, and while Josh Sargent’s omission from the squad is a head-scratching decision that could sap the attack of a late-game option, it’s not likely to affect the overall game plan for Sunday or throughout the tournament.

Predicted lineup

— Steffen —

— Adams — Miazga — Long — Lovitz

— McKennie — Trapp — Holmes —

— Morris — Altidore — Lewis —

The head man will want to get a mix of players on the field while still deploying the same tactical approach he will ask of his players in the Gold Cup and hope as many first-team players as possible can be on the field. Still, with a long summer ahead, it’s unlikely he will take too many squad risks. Omar Gonzalez played the full 90 minutes against Jamaica and could sit in favor of Aaron Long. Tyler Adams has been excelling in midfield since his move to the Bundesliga, but the USMNT has shown no signs of detouring from the plan to play Adams at right-back at the international level.

Berhalter may look to again deploy Tim Ream after playing just 60 minutes against Jamaica, but the 31-year-old is a known quantity and the coach could look to give Daniel Lovitz another chance to prove his worth against a difficult opponent. With Bradley out, Wil Trapp is again the man in the middle, without any fitness worries knowing that Bradley will take over once the Gold Cup arrives. McKennie is back in the fold while Duane Holmes should get another chance after proving one of the few bright spots against Jamaica.

Paul Arriola got 72 lackluster minutes the last time out, and Jonathan Lewis will have an opportunity to show what he can do out wide, with Jordan Morris possibly taking over on the other side. It’s possible that Morris could start the game on the bench with the aim of coming on to spell Jozy Altidore in the second half, in which case Tyler Boyd could see his name in the starting lineup.

Whoever starts at the back for the United States will have the tall task of marking MLS superstar Josef Martinez, a player coming off a record-breaking club season last year and – slow start aside – is back on track this year as well, with six goals in his last five matches for Atlanta United. He will likely be supported on the flanks by Real Salt Lake winger Jefferson Savarino and Jhon Murilla who plays in the Portuguese top flight. In the middle for Venezuela is a familiar face in Yangel Herrera, a midfield destroyer formerly of NYCFC who played the last six months at Spanish side Huesca on loan from Manchester City.

Venezuela is coming off a pair of disappointing performances and has won just once in its last five matches, a surprising 3-1 victory over Argentina in March. They dropped 3-1 to Mexico last time out on Thursday in Atlanta in Gerardo Martino’s return to Atlanta, wasting an early 1-0 lead via Murillo. Before that they drew 1-1 with Ecuador, again coughing up a first-half lead.

A win isn’t necessarily a must for the United States with the important matches to come, but an improvement from the Jamaica defeat is required to give the U.S. any kind of confidence and good vibes heading into the tournament this summer that will define Gregg Berhalter’s early head coaching days and set up the squad to begin vital World Cup qualifying on a high.

Player ratings from USMNT 0-1 Jamaica

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It says something that near the end of the United States men’s national team’s 1-0 loss to Jamaica in a Wednesday friendly, I hesitated to make a joke about calling up the U-20 team.

I didn’t know if people would realize I was kidding.

[ RECAP: USMNT 0-1 Jamaica ]

This was the worst performance of the Gregg Berhalter era, albeit with most stars missing from the U.S. roster.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen — 5 — Wasn’t going to do anything on the goal, but what was with the cavalier play to start the match?

Tim Ream (Off 59′) — 5 — Fighting to rediscover his form following a miserable season at Fulham.

Matt Miazga (Off 72′) — 6 — Bailed his men out a few times.

Omar Gonzalez — 7 — If Wednesday was any sign, Toronto FC is getting a wise, fit center back.

Antonee Robinson (Off 80′) — 6 — Ran out of gas in the second half, but buzzed up and down the left in the first half.

Cristian Roldan (Off 66′) — 4 — More of the same in an U.S. shirt, lots of industry but little in threat.

Wil Trapp — 4 — He was out there. We promise. After 15 caps, what’s his standout performance to date?

Jackson Yueill (Off 59′) — 5 — Unspectacular, but there had to be a lot of nerves on debut. Glad to see the Quakes man get the chance.

Paul Arriola (Off 72′) — 4 — As rough a match as you’ll see from a player of his experience and quality.

Djordje Mihailovic — 4 — His heavy touch in the box at the death was endemic of his team’s night.

Josh Sargent — 4 — Credit to him for battling to the final whistle, but this was very much a night for learning from and growing through struggles for the 19-year-old.

Subs

Nick Lima (On 59′) — 6 — The USMNT was better when he stepped into the fray.

Jonathan Amon (On 59′) — 6 — Lively on the left.

Duane Holmes (On 66′) — 7 — If there were really three Gold Cup roster slots available and Holmes didn’t have a hold on one already, he should now. Dynamic, clean, great vision. Could’ve had two assists.

Joe Gyau (On 72′) — n/a — Good to see him back out there.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (On 72′) — n/a — Pretty fortunate we’re not giving numbers for cameos. Rough.

Daniel Lovitz (On 80′) — n/a — Bubble?

Clumsy USMNT falls at home to Jamaica

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Bring on the stars, already.

The United States struggled to assert itself over the majority of a 1-0 home loss to Jamaica on Wednesday, one of two friendlies in the run-up to the Gold Cup.

Shamar Nicholson scored a terrific goal from distance for Jamaica, whose team was superior for most of the evening.

[ MORE: Player ratings ]

The Yanks were without Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic, and Weston McKennie, as well as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. Those five will be available for the Gold Cup, though John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin will miss the tournament.

Those absences were very much felt, as the Yanks passed as poorly as they have in some time. It improved a bit with some second half substitutions, but not enough to engender hope in the depth of Gregg Berhalter’s squad.

Paul Arriola was active on the right wing very early, and Josh Sargent nearly nodded a cross from the DC United man past Jamaican keeper Andre Blake.

[ MORE: Premier League VAR details ]

Zack Steffen struggled in the first quarter hour, caught out of goal on a long shot from distance that sailed wide and then nearly giving away a goal on a lethargic restart.

Steffen would make a pair of saves, once on an Alvas Powell header and again in the 43rd minute on a rip from well outside the 18.

The second half began with more of the same, the soon-to-be Manchester City property getting low to make a fine parry in the 53rd minute.

The Yanks made a pair of subs, and Jamaica went ahead at the hour mark. Nicholson put Wil Trapp on skates, and then lashed a beauty past Steffen for his first senior goal.

Duane Holmes’ introduction for Cristian Roldan, who was given playmaking duties, helped give the Yanks some life. The same can be said for Jonathan Amon.

Holmes cued up Sargent for a point-blank chance that was diverted wide of the goal. He set up Sargent again in the 88th, and the youngster did well to turn but Blake got a piece of his chopped offering.

Fan arrested after American player Holmes racially-abused in England

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A man has been arrested for racially abusing American midfielder Duane Holmes during a Football League Championship match on Sunday.

The incident occurs as a high-profile time for racism in soccer, which has seen Moise Kean and Raheem Sterling racially abused during matches in recent weeks.

[ MORE: Robben looking at MLS ]

Holmes, 24, is having a terrific year for Frank Lampard at Derby County following his arrival from Scunthorpe United. The diminutive right midfielder, who also plays centrally, is starting regularly and had a goal and an assist last week against Rotherham United.

Saturday at Brentford was a different story, as Holmes was targeted by a Bees season ticket holder after subbing off the pitch.

Here’s Derby manager Frank Lampard, from the BBC:

“Duane Holmes complained that he was racially abused – I didn’t see it, I was facing play and a fan came up to him at the side of the dugout and abused him,” he told Sky Sports.

“Because it’s such an important issue I don’t want to go beyond what I know, but it was very clearly reported by the players and the people around.”

The arrest shows that Lampard’s comments were backed by authorities.

Holmes, for his part, retweeted a supporter’s message backing “Kick It Out,” which aims to eradicate racism from the game.